Bonhoeffer on “the merciful”


‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ These men without possessions or power, these strangers on Earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation of others. They have an irresistible love for the down-trodden, the sick, the wretched, the wronged, the outcast and all who are tortured with anxiety. They go out and seek all who are enmeshed in the toils of sin and guilt. No distress is too great, no sin too appalling for their pity. If any man falls into disgrace, the merciful will sacrifice their own honour to shield him, and take his shame upon themselves. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship

2 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer on “the merciful”

  1. In our communities, people of faith, who would agree of Bonhoeffer’s definition of the “merciful” need to collaborate with other people of faith and organize to begin to change some of the inequalities that exist in our cities. In our town a newly formed organization such as this is called “Faith Voices for Jefferson City.” (Jefferson City, MO) We have organized to work on public transportation, predatory lending, expansion of Medicaid (so that more of our citizens will be qualified) and voting rights. Other issues will emerge and get our attention as well, but meanwhile we have our work cut out for us. Our City Council is beginning to take notice. It is laborious, time-consuming work, but amazing what can be accomplished! We would encourage others to work together in a similar way to bring transformation!


    • No argument there, Jeanie! I have a number of friends who are doing so in different places throughout the country… even in my own home town. :-) Thank you so much for your sharing… glad to know that Bonhoeffer’s words aren’t lost in history.


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